Even though it’s only October and there are still two more months left for publishing and reading in 2019 we are already assembling our “best lists”.
Here are some of our favorite speculative fiction works this year (so far):
The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders. This is a science fiction novel steeped in the politics and prose of relationships. Humanity has arrived on a cold, tidally-locked planet, January, with searing sun rays on one side and constructed societies of survival in different pockets on the dark side of the planet with different rules and regulations. Sophie and Bianca, and the itinerant Mouth narrate the novel. Sophie is spellbound by Bianca, a beautiful girl from the ruling class with bold ideas about how to change the society they are in, intoxicating with out-sized personality and revolutionary dreams. This is a story of ecological consequences, humanity’s push and pull for control and freedom, our need to have someone to believe in, how our idea of the person we love may be quite different from the person they truly are, and how it is so hard to admit when we have been betrayed by a person we thought worthy of our trust. Continue reading “Top 10 Noteworthy 2019 Speculative Fiction Books Part 1”
I have realized that some of my favorite recent fantasy reads have featured an elaborate heist adventure at the center of the story. Heist fantasies offer the magic, action and adventure that will keep you turning pages while they also feature characters on the margins of society, grifters and scrappy survivors whose struggles and high-stakes schemes and scrapes propel the narrative. While these fantasies offer characters you will root for, they present the thrill and danger of life lived on a knife’s edge. Here are some examples of heist fantasies I enjoyed:
Leigh Bardugo’s teen fantasy duology Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdomintroduce a motley cast of characters led by Kaz, a mysterious young man known as Dirtyhands who masterminds a den of thieves in Ketterdam’s Dregs. While the characters are teens, this is a dark fantasy world of deep class distinctions and the youth in Kaz’s crew have all encountered very adult, traumatic events in their lives. Their mistreatment by the world bonds them as they undergo a suicide mission trying to break out a man with valuable secrets from the most heavily guarded stronghold in the land. Continue reading “Heist Fantasy: Magic, Action & Adventure”
November marks twelve months of literary holidays! So to finish it off, here are three November literary holidays.
The entire month is Picture Book Month, an international initiative to support literacy and encourage the use of picture books. There are blogs dedicated to championing the importance of picture books throughout the month. So in honor of picture books, here are some recommendations for you.
Blue Frog by Dianne de la Casas is a fun book of a native Central American legend. How the gods first shared chocolate with humans.
A Different Pond by Bao Phi is gorgeous book about a boy who fishes with his father, with context that goes so much deeper. It’s worth sharing with your children.
Juna’s Jar by Jane Bahk follows Juna whose friend, Hector, has moved away and she starts to put items in her special kimchi jar to try to find Hector.
October is known for its spooky holiday themes, but the literary holidays are less spooky and a whole lot of fun.
If you are familiar with the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland, then this day might be for you. On October 6th, it is Mad Hatter day due to the number he wears in his hat. It’s a perfect time to explore the world of Wonderland again or check out some books on tea. The Mad Hatter is the host of probably one of the most famous tea parties in the literary world.
I love discovering authors that were impactful in their era and whose work still holds up today. Wyndham is the kind of writer I truly enjoy–he writes the kind of unfussy, competent prose that is underrated and more supple than it first appears. His writing reminds me of the work of Walter Tevis, Theodore Sturgeon, and James Tiptree, Jr. where the first lines draw you in, and the characters are drawn swiftly in compelling details without overdoing it.
Wyndham wrote short, chilling novels that he called “logical fantasy” and what were alternately and perhaps dismissively called “cosy catastrophes.” He also knew how to draw you in from the first sentence and paragraph.